Super Summer Soup

Gardeners everywhere are now harvesting the first and second rounds of the summer’s bounty, their sweat and tears paying off in ripe, juicy fruits and vegetables. In come the tomatoes, beans, and of course, zucchini. Whether they’re living on the east coast, west coast, or in between, just about every person who has a square foot of fertile land seems compelled to dedicate it to zucchinis. Such an easy-going and prolific plant, those green vines are more than happy to sprawl out and replicate endlessly anywhere; no environment is too unfriendly, it would seem. And thus, as we enter into the heat of August, we too enter into the season of zucchini. Like an invasive species, there’s no stopping these green cucurbits from taking over gardens everywhere, and filling up refrigerators with bottomless bowls of squash, large and small, sweet and bitter, but all of them the same; Delicious.

Personally, zucchini overload has never been a problem for me. Quite possibly because even such a hearty plant refuses to ever develop into more than a tangle of limp vines under my care, I’m one of those people that envies those complaining about how to use up their overwhelming yields. Regardless, this time of year screams “zucchini!” loud and clear, so who am I to ignore such firm prompting? Into the kitchen with store-bought but still local squash I went.

When it comes to soups, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Yes, you must bear the heat of the oven for a solid half hour, but suit up with ice packs or even bags of frozen peas if you have to, because it’s so utterly worth the pain. With only chopping and no further hands-on labor required, it’s a small sacrifice to make.

Satisfying and filling thanks to the addition of gently crisped chickpeas, but still light and refreshing due to the simple sea of broth surrounding them, zucchini never felt more at home outside of the field than in this concoction. Highlighting their fresh flavor, slightly sweetened by drawing out the natural sugars while roasting, this is the kind of soup that I’m happy to eat both hot and cold. On such oppressive summer days, however, I do highly recommended going the chilled route.

Roasted Zucchini and Chickpea Soup

1 Medium Yellow Onion, Roughly Chopped
2 Medium Zucchini, Quartered and Chopped into Bite-Sized Pieces
1 15-Ounce Can (1 3/4 Cups Cooked) Chickpeas
2 – 3 Small Cloves Garlic, Unpeeled
2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil or Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 – 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
Fresh Parsley, as Needed

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. This makes for really easy clean-up; all you have to do is toss the aluminum when you’re all done, no washing required!

Arrange your chopped veggies, drained and rinsed chickpeas, and garlic cloves on the prepared baking sheet in one even layer. Drizzle with your oil of choice, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Slide everything into the oven and roast for 35 – 40 minutes, until the onions are just lightly browned and crispy around the edges, and the zucchini is nice and tender. Let cool if you plan on serving the soup chilled.

Peel and finely mince the roasted garlic, and place them in a medium-sized pot, along with the stock and nutritional yeast. Please note, make sure you use a really tasty broth here, because the flavor is very prominent. It should go without saying, but I recommend homemade if at all possible! Gently scoop the roasted veggies and chickpeas off of the sheet, and stir them into the pot as well. Heat gently until warm if a hot version is desired, or chill for at least an hour for a chilled soup. Before serving, top with fresh, minced parsley.

Makes 2 – 4 Servings

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